1920s: Clash of Cultures

Elizabeth Alig, Shreya Angana, Hailey Tilley, Connor Hess

Race Relations (Elizabeth Alig)

During the 1920's there were major clashes between different ethnicities, primarily whites and blacks. After the war, a new generation blacks began to change the definition of "racial pride". The 1920's was the time of the Harlem Renaissance or the "New Negro Movement" where the black culture flourished with new literature and art. However, many groups, primarily whites, opposed this new wave of black culture. Racial hatred escalated to new extremes and many horrific actions were committed against them. ie. lynching, race riots, anti-black groups.

Ku Klux Klan (Elizabeth Alig)

The second, (yes there was a first, and also a third) Ku Klux Klan, or the "Hooded Order", was an organization that believed in white supremacy, white nationalism, and anti-immigration; during the 1920's this group of people was at its peak with more than 4 million members nationwide. They burnt churches designated for the blacks, murdered, raped, lynched, tar-and-feathered, whipped ect. It was one of Americas darkest moments.

Garveyism (Elizabeth Alig)

Garveyism is an aspect of Black Nationalism which takes its source from the works, words and deeds of UNIA-ACL (Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League) founder Marcus Garvey. Marcus Garvey was a Jamaican political leader, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator who was a strong advocate of the Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism movements and is most know for his determination in unifying African Americas. An important part of his career was his beliefs about communism. He felt that "Communists were only White men who wanted to manipulate Blacks so they could continue to have control over them." He eventually died in 1940, but through the years schools, colleges, highways and buildings in Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, and the United States have been named in his honor.
Marcus Garvey - Mini Biography

Who were the Flappers?

Flappers were a "new breed" of young women in the 1920s who wore short skirts, cut their hair into bobs, listened to jazz music, and flaunted their distaste for "acceptable" social behavior. Flappers were seen as brash for wearing excessive makeup, drinking, smoking, and driving automobiles.
Flappers - The Roaring Twenties

Who were the Victorians?

Victorian women in the 1920s were women with very traditional and conservative ways. They believed in women staying dainty, and keeping their "roles" in society. Having children, cleaning, cooking, sewing, and caring is all they were seen good for. They stood against women being rebellious and protested flappers as often as possible.

The Red Scare(Connor Hess)

The Red Scare was a fear of Bolsheviks and anarchists. These fears stemmed from the recent Russian revolution, and the bomb threats made by a group of anarchists. The United States reacted by politicians over reacting using illegal search and seizures, and even resorting to deportation, of not only Bolsheviks and anarchists but regular immigrants from southern and eastern Europe.
First Red Scare

Palmer Raids(Connor Hess)

The Palmer raids were a way for the United States to act on the Red Scare. Lead by Attorney General A. Mitchel Palmer these raids were a way to deport the radical anarchists. These raids deported around 500 people, these raids did deport some anarchist leaders, but they also deported many immigrants as well.

Traditionalism vs Modernism (Shreya)

Traditional vs Modernism was a large result of the mass movement to cities after WWI. In 1920, 50% of Americans lived in urban areas. During the 1920s, cities were economic hubs with plentiful opportunities. Many people earned higher wages and could support a higher standard of living. This prompted modernism, which was a movement of greater individualism by extension looser morality, as people wanted to go out and have as much fun as they could since they were living so well. The modernists were a new generation who wanted to focus on the present and the future, rather than the past. Traditionalists, who for the most part did not live in the cities, still held the high moral ground of the past and believed that the new wave of modernism was threatening Christianity. Fundamental differences between the modernists and traditionalists prompted cultural clashes.
The Great Gatsby - Young and Beautiful Soundtrack Scene|HD
Gatsby and Daisy enjoyed the very highest standard of American modernist living and their relationship in itself would have scandalized traditionalists.

Traditionalism vs Modernism: The Scopes Trial (Shreya)

A cultural clash between traditionalists and modernists was the Scopes Trial. A man, John Scopes, was put on trial for teaching evolution, a banned subject, in his biology class. The prosecution, representing traditionalists who discounted evolution and supported creation, was headed by William Jennings Bryan, a conservative and devout Christian. The defense, representing the modernists, was lead by Clarence Darrow, an agnostic who believed in science. The modernists were open to introducing scientific evidence in support of the newer evolution theory. The trial, in traditionalist Tennessee, was biased from the start, and the prosecution won their case, but in the long term, the modern theory of evolution was introduced to society, largely due to the role of the media who favored the defense and publicized the new scientific evidence for evolution.

Traditionalists vs Modernists: Prohibition (Shreya)

By the 1920s, drinking had been associated with depression and inappropriate behavior. The temperance movement of the 1800s had not had success, but after WWI, alcohol prohibition with soldiers had proven effective. Inspired, traditionalists, many of them women, lobbied to ban alcohol sales and consumption. Meanwhile, modernists, both male and female, were drinking in the prosperous cities and were very much against the banning of alcohol. However, in January, 1919 the 18th Amendment was passed, banning the sale, transportation, importation, and production of alcohol.

Anti-Prohibiton and Bootlegging (Shreya)

The Volstead Act was not very effective in enforcing the 18th amendment and instead of companies producing alcohol, allowing individuals to become rich off of illegally producing and selling alcohol to the masses. People, especially in the cities, did not adhere to the 18th amendment and drank anyway. Speakeasies, or illicit bars and nightclubs, became popular during the prohibition period, supplied by bootleggers. These individuals, mostly criminals, went on to build empires out of the profits from the lucrative sale of moonshine, the most notorious being Chicago gangster and mob boss, Al Capone.

Al Capone

Al Capone is the most famous gangster and mob boss in American history. He ran a crime syndicate out of Chicago dedicated to smuggling and bootlegging liquor, but he was also involved in most of the other illegal operations in Chicago, giving the city a reputation for lawlessness. However, Capone was adored by the people because of his generosity towards them after the 1929 Stock Market Crash. For a time, he was known as a modern day Robin Hood until his reputation was damaged after the 1929 St. Valentine's Day Massacre which resulted in the deaths of 7 rival gang members. Investigators could never tie him to the massacre, but Capone was investigated by famous prohibition detective Eliot Ness and successfully convicted of tax evasion. After his stint in prison, his control in organized crime diminished, but not his notoriety.
Ken Burns's Prohibition -- coming to PBS | Sneak Peek | PBS

The End of Prohibition and Legacy? (Shreya)

Prohibition, failing fully to enforce sobriety and costing billions, rapidly lost popular support in the early 1930s. In 1933, the 21st Amendment to the Constitution was passed and ratified, ending national Prohibition. After the repeal of the 18th Amendment, some states continued Prohibition by maintaining statewide temperance laws. Mississippi, the last dry state in the US, ended Prohibition in 1966. However, communities have the option of being dry and some US communities, even to this day, continue to restrict or ban the sale of alcohol. A notable example would be Lubbock Texas, which was dry until 2009, 76 years after America's "noble experiment" with prohibition ended.